My Message to Everyone Who Wants to Learn to Play Hockey

I'm incredibly proud to say that I am a hockey player. I didn't get started when I was 3 like most professional players. I couldn't even skate before I got started last June. I took the Learn to Skate classes at the Chaparral Ice Center here in Austin for a few months and then jumped into the learn to play classes on Sunday nights at the Northcross Mall location. I have loved all of my time spent there. Hockey is an amazing game to watch and an even more amazing game to play. I've started in a mixed league, and I'm looking forward to joining the summer C league. I play drop-in hockey any time I can and go to stick and pucks as much as my schedule (and wife) will allow.

My point in this post is not to regale you with my story of hockey. It is to inspire you.

Hey you! Yea, you. I've seen you at the rink. You go to the drop-in games and just watch from behind the boards. You've even shown up to watch the learn to play class a few times. Maybe I've seen you at the public skating sessions. We might have talked even on the ice while we skated.

You asked me about how I got into hockey, and I tell you about how easy it was to learn thanks to the resources here in Austin. I tell you about how nice every single person I've ever worked with has been. And still, I don't see you on the ice at learn to play. You aren't there at drop-in. You haven't joined the league. It's not the 'right time'. You aren't sure if you're ready.

Guess what? You're ready.

I've watched too many hockey friends sit on the sidelines waiting to start playing, hovering at drop-ins and hanging out in the pro shop, waiting to enjoy the greatest game on this earth for themselves. Don't be intimidated. I'll tell you a secret. I still can't skate backwards very well. I fall down a lot, too. But no one cares. We are all on the ice to play this great game. And you should be out there, too.

Please, if you want to learn to play hockey, do it. Step up right now and say, "I'm coming to the Saturday morning learn to skate class this weekend" or "I'll be at the Sunday afternoon learn to play class". Step up and be a part of the best game on the planet, because you're ready.


  1. Okay, I kinda got some tears in my eyes reading this. It kills me to watch people who want to play not take the leap. Life is too short to sit on the other side of the glass wishing you were having all that fun!

    If you're ever down Houston way for work or whatever and want a drop-in to come to, just let me know. :)

    You might also be interested in the camp I'm tending for this summer. It's exactly for beginner and intermediate adult players who want to improve their game. I'm so excited about it.

  2. Great story there, but I'd have to say that the reason a lot of people don't play (myself included) is that hockey is not a cheap sport to join any type of organized game, between all the equipment, and the cost to get on the ice, it's not the easiest thing in the world to get into. I would love to be able to join a league where they didn't require anything more than a pair of skates and a stick and just let you play some good old fashioned hockey like we did on the pond when I was a kid.

    With that said, I still don't think that should stop anyone from playing hockey, I decided last month that I wanted to get back into playing, so I went and bought a pair of used roller blades and a cheap stick and just started working on getting my skating legs back (skating backwards will just kinda come one day, and you'll be able to do it without a problem after it does, I hadn't skated in about 7 years, and that was one of the easiest things for me to do when I laced them back up) and a little bit on my shooting and puck handling, and I'm pretty close to being back to where I was the before I stopped playing all those years ago (just now it's on the pavement instead of the pond)

  3. I agree that cost can be an issue. I can't deny that. There are a lot of great resources though, including second hand stores like Play It Again and Sports Replay here in Austin. My message was more directed at people who are just plain fearful of starting. Get out there and play.

    Chris, you should come out to the Chaparral Ice sometime if you can get gear.

  4. Give me an age range!! I'm 52 and would get started in a heartbeat if I knew how to get going. I've watched for years wishing hockey was bigger here when I was growing up.

  5. Well, I'm in my 20s, but the goalie that came to learn to play last night was 51. She's pretty good, too, even though I got a few past her low glove side. We even had a guy who was up in his 60s that used to come a lot.

  6. I'm working on getting a set of gear together, planning for the fall session probably, in the meantime, if you've got a pair of inlines you can hit me up for a game anytime

  7. OK - I'm a Texas transplant originally from New Hampshire. I played hockey from age 3 to 18, and then have not skated in a game since - for about 22 years. I'd love to get back into playing in an Austin league. Where is it happening at? Northcross Mall? Is there a website with schedules? Thanks for posting this. It really motivated me to get re-engaged and back on the ice. Regards, Paul

  8. Hi Paul,
    The best website is probably Chaparral Ice. They are, sadly for now, the only game in town. There are all sorts of 'draft' leagues in skill levels from AA to C. Also, there are mixed level teams and even an over 40 league. Also, you can come out to the Sunday learn to play or just a stick and puck. There is a drop-in session every Tuesday night as well. You can do any of these.

  9. Well - I did it. Went to the new player skate yesterday as part of joining the Chaparral summer league. It was a lot of fun; glad to be back on the ice. Used muscles I forgot I had, and today I am paying for it!

    Thanks for your blog on the Stars. It's an awesome blog. I'm reading it all the time. Regards, Paul


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